I hesitate to call She & Him Vol. 1 a dissapointment, but when I first heard that M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel were collaborating, I didn't expect what we got. When I think of M. Ward, he's not just a warm studio sound with punchy acoustic numbers and a 50s country/pop angle; he's a husky, distant voice: Patsy Cline meets Tom Waits. Sadly, that voice was all but missing from the She & Him album, which only became a vocal collaboration on the The Miracles' "You've Really Got a Hold on Me."
So I was anxious to get my digital mitts on M. Ward's newest solo effort, Hold Time. For longtime (or shorttime) M. Ward fans, there's not much new here. There's a few duets, including Deschanel on "Rave On" and "Never Had Nobody Like Me" (which sound more like what I wanted She & Him to be) and Lucinda Williams on a brilliant cover of Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me." The title track drifts into nighttime-string-ballad territory and a few tracks are pretty rockin' for Ward, but otherwise, Hold Time meets all expectations. Thankfully.
Over the next several weeks, you'll probably see a lot of posts of oldish tracks, as I bask in the cool afterglow of 2008, enjoying albums I loved and discovering even more (I'll post on those, too.). For now, here's why 2008 sucked for hip-hop: there was nothing like El-P!
Let's revisit one of my favorite tracks of 2008. Taking a similar approach to Jesper Dahlback's remix of "Romantic Rights," the Nasty Nav remix of "Vanished" by Crystal Castles turns the Rad-Racer-night-on-the-town-circa-2024 into a club banger. It's not a complete transformation, but that's what makes it so good.